The third floor at the Plaza Hotel was awash in pink blooms on Tuesday night.
“We really haven’t had spring, so we’re trying really hard tonight; you’ll see we created a summer garden because it’s been so cold and miserable out,” remarked The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering president Jamee Gregory. For its annual spring ball, the society had imbued the space with season-appropriate floral photo backdrops, plenty of floral installations and a projection on the ballroom’s ceiling — not to mention the plethora of floral-themed gowns sashaying throughout the space.
Prettiness aside, the tactic works. Since last year’s spring ball, the society has funded eight new researchers, supported 20 patient care committees, and provided support for initiatives such as art-based care and volunteers to hold babies while their mothers undergo treatment.
“This [event] is our chance to support the society’s research grants and raise as much money as we can. And we’ve already raised over $1 million, and the night is young,” Gregory added. The society also has its eye on cultivating young philanthropy, and for the first time this year invited the “twenty- to thirtysomethings” for some post-dinner dancing. Those tickets sold out in 48 hours. “So when the doors open and Harley Viera-Newton’s disco starts, we’re going to have a whole bunch of Pretty Young Things coming into the room,” Gregory added. And after dinner later, she was the first one to lead the charge onto the dance floor.
Saks Fifth Avenue was also out in full force. The retailer has provided major support for the society, and many of the Saks cast had come out to help celebrate the evening, including event cochair Roopal Patel and Saks president Marc Metrick.
“They are on a move,” Metrick remarked of the society’s contributions to MSK. “It’s such a great cause and what they stand for, especially here in New York, is true to us,” he added. “From connecting with our customers, being part of something that’s important to them and important to us and such a great cause. Believe it or not, we feel like we need to connect more with New York City, and getting involved with great causes like this — MSK — is perfect synergy for us.”